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BSF Thread, BSF Alternative business case in United Kingdom (UK) Specific Forums; Throughout the BSF threads there are many references to the apparent lack of alternative business case proposals in the face ...
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    BSF Alternative business case

    Throughout the BSF threads there are many references to the apparent lack of alternative business case proposals in the face of BSF managed services. The more fair-minded/knowledgeable posts recognise that this is mainly due to leverage, not to say blackmail, from the LA/LEP/P4S to force compliance with the programme. The most routine pressure is to claim that opt-out jeopardises the entire BSF programme. Another common mechanic is simply to compress the time available to develop an alternative proposal, which in any case is a truly Herculean task for any school, as they generally don't have many years of experience building comprehensive business cases, (unlike the pre-qualified bidders who not only do it for a living, but have a connected history of bids to draw on.)

    So when a school does make a bid what happens? Villiers School in Ealing did exactly that and it was summarily rejected without substantial reasons. You can judge for yourselves the quality of the bid because the outraged school has posted it at www.villiers.ealing.sch.uk/apbc At the very least it disproves the idea that no one is bothered or capable of mounting a serious counter-proposal. Sadly it also demonstrates the treatment P4S metes out to those who do not believe in the nirvana of long-term managed services monopolies financed by the usury that is PFI.

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    Thank you for submitting the Alternative Procurement Business Case setting out Villiers High School’s argument not to become part of the proposed BSF area wide ICT managed service being developed by Ealing Borough Council.
    In accordance with the Guidance provided to you by Partnerships for Schools, Villiers High School’s Alternative Procurement Business Case was reviewed by an adjudication panel, chaired by Partnerships for Schools and with representatives from DCSF, Becta, KPMG and Naace. In reaching its decision the panel acknowledged that Villiers High School provides a high standard of education and they recognised the school’s desire to take forward its own ICT strategy. However, a decision to reject the school’s business case was reached for the following reasons:

    The school has not demonstrated a sound understanding of the risks and costs associated with running its own ICT procurement and has not accounted for the costs of managing the procurement including, but not limited to, legal costs, staff time and additional consultancy.

    The school has not identified the costs associated with integrating their ICT solution with the building management systems nor incorporated these costs into their calculations.

    There is a lack of clarity around the proposed interface arrangements and risk transfer between the LEP, the D&B contractor, the school’s chosen ICT supplier and the school. If these elements are fully costed, they have an adverse effect on the Value for Money of the business case.

    Whilst recognising that the school has high aspirations for the ways in which its ICT solution will promote and facilitate international collaboration, the panel felt that there was insufficient evidence to show that the school’s systems would support local collaboration as effectively as if they were participating in the area-wide service.




    The panel noted that Villiers High School’s business case did not demonstrate understanding of the full offer to be provided by the ICT managed service planned for Ealing’s schools. The panel also noted that the financial information supplied by the school did not correctly represent the Total Cost Ownership of ICT.


    In its business case the school indicated that it would be not be willing to participate in the aggregated procurement nor accept the area wide ICT managed service. I ask you to re-consider your position on this. However, if you decide to still proceed on this basis, there will be a financial implication for the school. The school will not receive its share of the £1450 per pupil Capital Grant payment to fund the cost of equipment, software and content and establishing a shared learning platform. However, it will still receive the £225 per pupil payment to cover the cost of renewing passive network infrastructure as part of its remodelling.

    I am sending a copy of this letter to Simon Hurrell, Programme Director, Building Schools for the Future, Ealing Borough Council. Mr Hurrell will shortly be contacting you to discuss what should happen next.

    It is important that a meeting between the School and Ealing Borough Council is organised as soon as possible. At this meeting you will need to agree the extent of Villiers High School’s engagement with the ICT managed service offered and discuss the financial implications for the School.

    Yours sincerely
    ouch......

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Sounds like b*@@*#ks to me. However the £225 per pupil for "passive" network infrastructure is interesting, what do they mean by passive? Does the pupil head count include 6th form students?


    Wes

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    Interestingly our school ground is owned by a trust so I wonder if they could charge rent for the land if BSF come and dump a school on it? £1.4m a year should put them off


    Wes

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    sahmeepee's Avatar
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    It's a bit like having a turkey decide what you have for Christmas dinner really.

    I'm glad you have brought that to our attention, but it has still put me in a very bad mood!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sahmeepee View Post
    It's a bit like having a turkey decide what you have for Christmas dinner really.
    Chaired by PFS.

    Why is any of this even about a 'business case'?

    I'm getting angry.

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    Face-Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wesleyw View Post
    Sounds like b*@@*#ks to me. However the £225 per pupil for "passive" network infrastructure is interesting, what do they mean by passive? Does the pupil head count include 6th form students?


    Wes
    Remember that the £225 is just a one off payment for 5 years it the part of the funding allocated to use with the building work to replace network points,fibre,cabinets that may work but they are going to dig up and replace. Passive means it doesn't let you get switches with it which means it not much use anyway..

    "why does my fibre lead not fit in this square point"

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    Wow - if a business case like that gets rejected there is no hope for any of us.

    The school has not demonstrated a sound understanding of the risks and costs associated with running its own ICT procurement and has not accounted for the costs of managing the procurement including, but not limited to, legal costs, staff time and additional consultancy.
    So basically - one of the reasons the business case was turned down was because the school has decided not to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on Consultancy, Legal babblings, and extra staff to "manage" the change.

    I have to admit I am shocked at reading this. It seems there is no way out. Sureley there must be some kind of legal avenue in Europe? If they can legislate on the shape of our bananas I am damn well sure they can legislate on schools being railroded into accepting inferior, overpriced managed services!

    Butuz

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    wesleyw's Avatar
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    That'll be fine I'd rather not have the huge lump sum as when all the equipment fails we aren't left with a big problem.

    Anyone got a business case from one of the BSF bidders? Be interesting to see how different they are?

    Wes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    So basically - one of the reasons the business case was turned down was because the school has decided not to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on Consultancy, Legal babblings, and extra staff to "manage" the change.
    It is baffling, yes. Basically they have failed on the criterion "not enough bureaucracy". If that's where the goalposts are then BSF will win every time.

    Surely the school's argument is that it's so far beyond the BSF offering that it doesn't need a step-change in its IT setup. They will need a hell of a lot of change management when a MSP comes in and demolishes the service they already provide.

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    Publishing a successful bid document would be dynamite. They'll almost certainly be covered by confidentiality agreements but any leaked successful proposal would terrify P4S. It would expose their selection process and show a route forward to building successful counter-bids.

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    Presently there are no successful alternative business case proposals to work from and I have asked for an example but each case is tied in with who that particular BSF project works ... how it fits in with the LEP etc.

    Ok, problem one with the ABCP - the strategy for how the school will improve or continue to improve is tied up with the whole LA strategy, and so you have to argue that moving out of the contract does not risk that for the school.

    So far the schools that have put things forward are those that are pretty much happy to be out on their own anyway ... perhaps that is part of the problem, fighting to stay *too* far removed from the LA line.

    Problem two ... it needs to be written by someone that *really* understands the system and how it works. There are not that many of these people around and they are usually consultants ... and often working for the BSF bidders at that. Those that aren't there are working for LAs, DCSF, etc ... and the handful that are left tend to be tied up with other projects (open source, handheld learning, etc)

    Problem three ... this is an outcomes led project. Until it can be shown that a high performing school takes a significant dip and the principle catalyst for this the forced change away from an established IT/ICT provision and vision ... then it is going to be hard to fight this.

    I am still writing up my notes from the NAACE conference last week but the session there with Steve Moss showed a number of positive changes which will hit wave 7 onwards really ... but some of it still comes down to having the right bidders in teh partnership and schools getting in there early with what they want and need. The idea that coming to a gentleperson's agreement between teh 3 parties (School, LA, MSP) to relax or ignore KPIs in a particular area to allow for the school to try something different they *they* want, but if it fails because teh school has made the wrong choice then the MSP does not get the penalties applied as they might do otherwise. So ... if the MSP or the LA is not willing then this is where things fall down.

    It is also worth saying that another session at the conference was led by a BSF company and I am still struggling how to word some of it so that the positive things about the session (change management) are not outweighed by the attitude that this is not just about suppliers 'doing' things to the school but also 'doing things' for / to the LA because the supplier knows best.

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    say what you will, edit as you see fit...

    but this is a carve up

    'nuff said

    <edited due to bad language..Dos_Box>
    Last edited by KarlGoddard; 11th March 2009 at 10:32 AM.

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    This is just so sad
    Si

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    Sadly, we are all just 'little' people, caught up in politics on a grand scale. The authorities behind BSF don't want to talk to people in schools because we make their life difficult by telling them why their grand vision won't work.....

    BSF is a good idea, gone bad because of dogma, greed, arrogance from the people who are driving the program who all think they know better than the people who work in schools.....

    BSF is all about the political mileage to be gained from convincing the public that their children will somehow be better educated by having bright shiny new schools that look good, never mind the fact that they are not 'fit for purpose'.

    It's all about architects keen to show how wonderful their designs are, even if it means ignoring the wishes of the schools.... just as long as it looks good.....

    It's about LAs trying to regain control over schools after years of being forced to devolve management & responsibility to the schools....

    It is all about PFI, as years of neglect (by governments of all political colours) means that our schools are falling down, and the Govt has no money to pay for their rebuilding so they have to go cap in hand to persuade private financiers to fund the rebuilding to keep the capital costs 'of the books'. The irony is now 'we' the taxpayers are having to bail out the financiers so they can lend the builders the money to build the schools that we are going to pay over the odds for......

    PFI is all about profit for shareholders, even if it means fleecing the taxpayers for years to come.... ICT is the icing on their cake....

    Take the BSF school plans that show ICT suites will have no A/C, and no opening ventilation. The science prep room will be less than half the minimum recommended for Health & Safety, with inadequate ventilation, forcing the science technician to carry highly concetrated acid solutions between storage cupboards and the prep room along corridors while students push past....

    What about the 'green' feature of collecting rainwater, then flushing it down the drains because the budget won't stretch to using it to flush the toilets ....

    Don't forget the pathfinder school where the architects, builders & LA are currently arguing about whose fault it is that the main entrance doors are already falling off their hinges after a year or so...

    Apparently the school is using the doors too much.....

    Rest assured though, the people who are driving the process won't let these minor issues prevent them from earning their nice big salaries, maybe a few of them will collect an 'honour' or two.... for services to Education

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